We started our hike at 5500 feet in elevation. Ground conditions were perfect for prints. At first, we could see a set of a single human's tracks, along with a medium sized dog's, that lasted only about a half a mile into our trek, as we approached the 5800 foot level. They seemed to be a day or two old. Otherwise, there seemed to be no signs of humans taking this trail once we hit the 5800 foot area.
The snow began to get deeper. Though it was melting at a pretty good rate, the top layer had a frozen crust, and soon we found ourselves falling through, up to our waists in some spots. I, being overly optimistic that the warmer weather would have melted more snow than we found, did not wear the appropriate shoes. I was wearing my warm weather shoes, with breathable mesh, that didn't fare well in the snow.
After about an hour and a half of getting beat up by the crumbling ice layer we were walking on, we decided to concede. We came to an area of high ground that was exposed to the sun, where most of the snow had melted. So we climbed to the top where we could get the best possible vantage point, where we sat, watched and listened. This is where I filmed the following video.
As we made our way back down, out of the snow line, we came across some large quadrupedal prints. They were fresh, as we did not see them on our way up. Henry and I had our heads on a swivel, as we thought they might be mountain lion tracks. They were 4 inches long, and 3.75 inches wide. We measured the distance between two tracks to be 39 inches. Though we found no evidence, on this short outing, of squatch activity, these prints made the day a bit more exciting.
Upon investigating it further, once I got home to the computer, I've come to the conclusion that these tracks are definitely not mountain lion. They definitely are canine of some sort. Whatever it was, it was huge! 4 inch paws are massive! Cougar prints are said to average 3-3.5 inches. CLICK HERE to see a nice comparison of large feline tracks, to canine.
Moral of the story is........ No matter what the conditions, or how short the day was, it is really great to get out into the field.
I'll get back out there again soon.